Indie Oxford Interview: Foodylicious
On the blog today, to celebrate Plastic Free July®, Simon from Foodylicious shares his indie journey and why sustainability is at the heart of the business. >>
Tell us about your background and why you decided to set up your own business.
After working for over 30 years developing and launching a wide range of major food & drink brands into the UK marketplace, I realised I wanted to work more with smaller, newer & more innovative brands. More especially those which are both environmentally aware and socially responsible.
I felt it was also a chance to put something back into the local business community here in Oxford, and to assist smaller brands and businesses with the knowledge I have learned over the years.
Tell us about your indie business and the vision for it.
Foodylicious is all about bringing new and innovative food & drink products direct to people’s homes via our website Foodylicious.co.uk. The product range is then delivered in Foodylicious boxes made from recycled materials.
We currently supply the brilliant Eden Project range of “compostable”, Nespresso compatible coffee pods, which unlike other brands do not cause harm to the environment. The pods can be put into your garden compost or your regular waste bin as they break down when wet.
I also attend up to 30 food and drink festivals each year (when we’re not in a pandemic!) where I talk to people whilst sampling products, which they can then buy on the stall. I can’t wait to get back to shows this year now that it is safe to do so.
Sustainability plays a big part in your business. Why is it so important to you and the business?
Having historically worked on large eco/green brands such as Ecover, Natures Path, and the Fairtrade coffee brand Cafe Direct, I feel sustainability is in my DNA.
I have seen how brands such as these can make a real difference to consumers shopping habits and therefore limiting damage to the environment. The Eden Project coffee pods I now work with are a great example of what can be done to help consumers be more eco-friendly.
We try at Foodylicious to be environmentally friendly in whatever we do, from the products we have, to the recycled boxes we use with plastic free tape. Even our show stand is made from recycled materials!
Who, or what, has influenced you or inspired you?
Inspiration and influences on me come from a variety of sources and would include those who are not afraid to put the environment at the heart of what they do and go the extra mile to create a positive effect on those around them.
Organisations which are socially responsible such as The Gatehouse who help the homeless in Oxford are equally as inspiring. This has been especially applicable with Covid and the challenges that many people have been faced with. I have worked with the Gatehouse in a voluntary capacity and we get involved in their events.
What does a typical day look like for you at the moment, and has lockdown thrown up any positive changes to your work that you’re going to continue into the future?
I don’t really have a typical day as things are constantly changing and it will depend on whether we are doing a food & drink festival that week. As a small business owner I do anything from processing orders, taking deliveries from suppliers, finance, sales, marketing and everything in between!
I now have digital marketing support which has really helped me in starting to develop that specific area recently.
Whilst the Foodylicious business was set up very much for events and “face to face” show contact I have adapted during covid to focus on the online business. This has exploded as people get to hear about Foodylicious.
I am now starting to attend events again and just had the first one this year. I am really looking forward to getting out and seeing people again with over 20 planned in the diary for the rest of the year.
On a personal level my partner and I make sure to find the time to have a daily walk together.
Why is Oxfordshire a great place to run your business?
We love being in Oxford due to its vibrancy and being a real centre of innovation. The location, in the centre of the country is ideal for us and as the owner I came for a year, fell in love with the place, and have stayed for more than 20 years now.
What’s the best thing about running an indie business?
There are so many reasons to run an indie business but the main one for me is you have complete control over your business and you tend to work closely with other like-minded individuals who also have the drive and determination to succeed.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you started the business?
Be prepared for anything at any time and be able to adapt quickly. The impact of Covid for so many great small businesses has been devastating, through no fault of their own. The most dynamic and profitable businesses will fail if they can’t trade and keep the cash turning. That said we are starting to see the light now and those of us who have come through it will no doubt be even stronger and know that the worst is behind us.
What are you dreaming about doing post lockdown?
Getting out to the west coast of Ireland, a place close to my heart. I look forward to relaxing and looking over the sea to Connemara whilst planning what is next for Foodylicious in the coming years.
Finally, what are your favourite indies in Oxfordshire?
Too many to mention all by name but the East Oxford Market deserves a shout out as it has been a saviour for so many small food business and consumers in Oxford. They have kept trading and making things happen during the pandemic, whilst being professionally run each Saturday and keeping all the required standards in place to keep people safe.